Nightclubs and soft play centres get grants up to £50,000

One-off payments for businesses that have been unable to open their premises since March.

Nightclubs and soft play centres get grants up to £50,000 Getty ImagesSNS Group

Grants worth up to £50,000 are being made available to nightclubs and soft play centres that have been closed by law since March.

The one-off payments are being made available to businesses in both sectors through the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 contingency fund.

The grants will be based on rateable value and businesses operating multiple premises will be eligible to claim one full grant plus up to 75% on other properties.

Business minister Jamie Hepburn said: “We know that nightclubs and soft play centres have been particularly badly hit by this pandemic – unlike the majority of businesses, they have not been allowed to open since March.

“These grants take account of those exceptional circumstances and will provide a boost as we continue to tackle the virus.

“We don’t want any business to remain closed for a day longer than is necessary but public health is paramount.

“Unfortunately we are at a critical point with infection levels rising again and it is not safe to lift restrictions on these activities. “Local authorities will be contacting businesses directly to get the information needed to progress their claim.”

Guidance will be published this week to help soft play centres prepare for re-opening when it is safe to do so.

The Scottish Government says premises will not be eligible if they have opened at all since March – for example by changing their licence to open as a pub – and awards may be reduced if companies successfully apply to the Cultural Organisations and Venue Recovery Fund.

The grants announcement comes as a Glasgow nightclub owner has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with alternative options to “navigating a way forward out of the restrictions”.

Donald MacLeod MBE, chairman of the Glasgow Licensing Forum who owns The Garage and Cathouse nightclubs in the city, says some venues in the city are losing “between 50% and 75% of their most profitable trading hours” due to restrictions placed on the industry.

As part of the autonomous body, which is separate from Glasgow City Council, he has called for a last entry time to replace the current 10pm curfew as well as highlighting issues with turning off music in such venues.

Meanwhile, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick says he is “completely baffled” by the decision not to give financial support to nightclubs who re-opened as pubs.

He said: Businesses were asked to be innovative in an attempt to save jobs, and now those nightclubs who did so are being punished again. It makes no sense.   

“The Garage nightclub, which is one of our members, is typical. I know that as a pub they were only able to host 80 socially-distanced customers at a time. They did not make profit from this, but what they did do was keep staff employed.” 

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